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Undrafted rookie holds Bills' reins
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Passed over in the NFL Draft in April, quarterback Jeff Tuel settled on signing with the Buffalo Bills a few days later with the sole objective of cracking the team's roster.

As of Monday, the raw rookie out of Washington State is in line to start in the Bills' season opener against New England Sept. 8.

"I came here to play football, and that's what I'm doing," Tuel said. "It just explains, you can never expect. You never know what's going to happen in this league.

"It's why you've got to be ready."

Tuel is in this position because of a string of injuries that have hit the Bills' quarterback position.

Veteran Kevin Kolb is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion — the third of his seven-year career — in a 30-7 loss to Washington on Saturday. Then there's rookie first-round pick E.J. Manuel, who might not be ready to play because he's still recovering from a left knee injury he hurt in a 20-16 win over Minnesota a week earlier.

The Bills did sign free agent Matt Leinart on Sunday, but the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner needs time to become familiar with the offense.

Should Tuel start against New England, he would be the first undrafted rookie directly out of college to start in Week 1 for any team since the NFL merger in 1970, according to STATS LLC.

This is not exactly what rookie coach Doug Marrone envisioned when he intended to have his starter in place within 10 days of the season.

"Well, I don't know if I'd use the word crazy," Marrone said. "But I would say a little bit of adversity, for sure."

Around the league

Browns • Cleveland released former Utah defensive tackle Dave Kruger, the brother of starting linebacker Paul Kruger, and three others. Dave Kruger was signed as an undrafted free agent by Cleveland in April. He was slowed during training camp by a concussion. The Browns also placed rookie running back Dion Lewis, who had surgery last week on his broken leg, on the season-ending injury reserve.

Vikings • The NFL suspended Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton for three games for violating the league's policy on substance abuse.

Redskins • Washington cut veteran receiver Donte Stallworth, who was hindered through most of training camp by a hamstring injury. He caught two passes for 33 yards in preseason games. The 32-year-old player signed with the Redskins in June, three months after he was seriously burned in a hot air balloon accident in Florida.

Patriots • Quarterback Tim Tebow survived New England's cut to 77 players, but the Patriots must make two more moves before Tuesday's league deadline to get to 75.

NFL notes • QB Tuel in line to start season opener for Buffalo.
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